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Build your chest.
Maybe the strongmen of old didn’t have access to weights. I say that as, many of the old fashioned “get fit at home” manuals and pamphlets, put push ups and push up variations at the core of their regimes. Maybe they assumed that their home based clients didn’t have a “bench”.
Not a totally insane assumption.
So, push ups or “dips” as Charles Atlas called them, belong in any home regime. I think they are often overlooked.
Charles Atlas does his “dip”between two chairs in order to get a bigger range of motion. according to his pamphlet its great for “Chest, Shoulders and Back. Excellent for preventing Lung and Chest troubles. Do the dipping exercise at least 100 times every day. Aim to do it 200 times daily if you are keen on getting a very big and powerful chest development. Do this by dipping 25 or more times, rest and relax a few moments and do them again. Rest and do them again.” Charles Atlas said he did 200 daily.
However, it isn’t as simple as just doing any type of push up. Notice from this video that you are aiming for a planche push up. Your shoulders go forward and your hands end up as near the hips as possible
Of course, this is achievable if you already have push ups. If you don’t work your progressions like mad
Pull ups again
Where ever I go I find people abandoned by the fitness industry!
My evidence for this is the failure of so many people to be able to do a pull up.
I’ve written about this phenomenon in the past. Often in slightly rude, slightly risque, terms.
But let me, again, emphasise how to get your first pull up.
Obviously, any arm strength helps. If you’ve been bicep curling, doing push-ups, tricep extensions, some other weird bodybuilding isolation exercise you got off the internet, you must be better of than someone who hasn’t used their arms since birth, but as my article “Pull ups and girls” proved, generic exercises do not give you pull-ups.
It’s better to learn how to do a “negative”
you have to think a lot about how to get up to the bar to be able to lower down from it. I cover this crucial issue in patronising detail in my article “If you do not have any pull ups, no one will want to marry you”. Read it carefully
But here are some extra ideas for you to build in:
To help structure your training, here is an interesting regime that builds your pull ups from a single negative to 20
As always, if you want to book a Pt with me in Bethnal Green or Blackfriars, do drop me an email Andrew@andrewstemler.com
in the 60’s to 70’s you would have been hard pressed to ignore the isometrics movement. Vic O’beck published “How to Exercise without moving a muscle” in 1964 and it became very popular.
During the late 60’s early 70’s the Daily Express ran a regular cartoon in its pages which popularised the exercise regime. The cartoons were eventually bundled into a book Isometrics. How to exercise without moving a muscle, in strip cartoons from the Daily Express.
Like many fitness fades, the interest faded from main stream use, due in part to silly claims. A regime that promises to get you fit and trim in 90 seconds a day is bound to sell you the book or course, but fail to deliver much , if any, fitness.
This is a shame, as given the right objectives, the static hold has a really useful role to play. According to James Hewitt who wrote Isometrics for you: Get fit and trim in 90 seconds a day in 1966 “without special apparatus and without moving a muscle you can grow stronger and build, or reshape your body to nearer your hearts’ desire. The static contraction has been part of physical culture systems for a very long time. Hatha yoga contains postures held without movement”.
Put simply, isometrics are a system of physical exercises in which muscles are caused to act against each other or against a fixed object. It’s a form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint.
The popular regimes focused on basic body building type exercises and suggested a 6 second static contraction with a maximum, or comfortable maximum contraction. This bicep curl picture gives you a good idea.
Whilst this had some value, the use of the extended static hold in functional fitness is probably in developing the capacity to simply hold postures which contribute to actual exercises. The reality is that if you want to kick up to a rock solid free standing handstand, or do 20 plus pull ups, you better be able to hold a static ( albeit “leaning” ) handstand against the wall, and hang for 60, 90, 120, 180 seconds. Extra grip strength is always useful!
Btw you could find yourself struggling at 10 seconds when you start. Just do what you can and build up
So think about your regime and hunt out obvious postures to practice: the side planks, lunging pushes against a wall and deadlift holds spring to mind. Adding the L sit, a horse stance ( the old martial arts favourite) and a “hip up” hold can , when combined, make a really useful home exercise regime.
No more, “I cannot get to the gym”!!
The gymnastic dish shape or hollow hold
To have a fantastic core you need to strengthen and engage your core muscles in a move called the dish shape, or the hollow hold.
This video starts you on the road to the perfect dish
I like this move because you can learn it at home!
The value of this move is that it starts you on the road of learning the handstand. You take the shape you have been learning, make the pelvic tilt more obvious, build it into a plank then walk the plank up the wall!
All at home!
Home pull up bar and gymnastic rings
When working through my home training courses, the chances are you will need a pull up bar. Many landlords won’t let you screw them into a wall, so get one that slides in and out of a door way. I’ve liked the JML one because, like me, its been around for ages,
JML Awesome Gym Door Frame Workout/Pull-Up Bar Home Gym for Upper Body Exercises
but there are lots of cheaper ones around too
I have to say that I own my own home so, Ive screwed mine into the wall.
Once you have a pull up bar, you can get a set of gymnastic rings. I started importing them in 2005 in tiny batches, and I think they cost £50 plus.
Today £20 gets you a nice wooden pair. Here is a good example, opt for wood if you can.
Sundried Wooden Gymnastic Rings with Straps Exercise Gym Rings Crossfit Gymnastics Athletic Dip Rings
The dish hold
The absolute foundation of gymnastic training is the dish hold, or hollow hold or handstand plank. It’s a super useful skill and a great core and abdominal muscle builder. If you want a L sit, a handstand or a muscle up, you need this!
You need to tumble if you want to be a stunt performer
We have spent our long teaching history building up drill to build your skills. We work almost exclusively with frightened adults !
If you want to check out my lessons in Bethnal Green E2 you can look at our class schedule and book here.
At the moment, my classes are on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon at Crossfit London If you want a better gymnast to lead your classes, look for Matthias ( wed) and Tugs (sunday) . You should really check out our fantastic gymnastic strength classes: handstands, levers, muscle up, planches, the flag.
Loads of stuff for you to learn.
Front tucks at Fifty ( well fifty eight to be accurate)
I love gymnastics and tumbling. I started as an adult and I battle with fear and flexibility and old man stuff. But I love it. I train in our London gym in Bethnal green E2.
Muscle ups, Rings and Gymnastic shapes
Todays special theme was the muscle up, so we picked up some essential skills: the false grip, the “muscle up push up” and other secret stuff
Here are some idea to help you revise
handstand shape into wall walk
The muscle up push up and some other stuff you may not have seen
For those who have fallen in love with the Muscle up and Ring Training for fitness , you may fancy this Ring Training guide its only 99p
Btw my name is Andrew Stemler. Im a london personal trainer based in Bethnal green E2. Contact me by Email